8 AMAZING Hacks for Wild Camping – Saving you Time and Money!
Wild camping is a great activity to enjoy in the UK. With dozens of National Parks, AONBs, and nature areas on offer, there are plenty of places to explore. Unfortunately, wild camping does have some limitations. In Scotland, you can pitch your tent pretty much wherever you want.
However, in England and Wales, there are more rules and stricter regulations against wild camping
That’s why it’s useful to know some hacks for wild camping. Instead of wasting time and money trying to wild camp in the wrong places or using the wrong equipment, you can now jump straight into your adventures and make the most of your trips.
To keep you in the loop, let’s look at some of the best hacks for wild camping.
1 . Be Camouflaged
Wild camping requires a certain level of secrecy. That’s one of the fun things about it. You need to be discrete when pitching your tent, and a good way of doing this is to remain hidden. When you first search for a wild camping spot, try to bear this in mind.
Scan the surrounding environment and look for anything that might give your location away. Are you on an exposed ridge? Are you close to any settlements? Are you near a key site or public footpath? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you’re probably in the wrong location.
Thinking about how to be camouflaged will save you time as it will avoid causing you to re-pitch. Use the natural landscape as cover for your tent; aim for hedgerows, woods, boulders, long grass, and divots. All these features can mask your location giving you a stress-free sleep.
It’s also worth purchasing a tent that is camouflaged. Don’t go buying a tall, brightly coloured tent. That would be a complete waste of money! Select a low-lying tent in dark or muted colours. You can even buy tents that have a camouflaged canvas which provides the perfect concealing colours.
2 . Try Bivvy Camping
Bivvy camping isn’t as common as regular camping. However, anyone willing to attempt it will find it’s one of the great hacks for wild camping. A bivvy bag is a waterproof and windproof shell layer that goes around your sleeping bag. You can pair a bivvy bag with a small canvas to give you cover from the rain.
This provides you with a lightweight and low-maintenance sleeping set-up. You are considerably more exposed to the environment, but this can be a good thing if you really want to embrace nature.
Bivvy bags are much cheaper than tents and they are more lightweight. This allows you to save money when purchasing your sleeping set up and it decreases the load of your backpack for long hikes.
Bivvy bags are also incredibly discrete. Burrowed down into the earth with your bivvy bag will make you very hard to spot. Even in more public areas, a bivvy bag will be nearly impossible to find. That’s great for wild camping as it widens your range of locations for stealth camping.
3 . Find a Secluded Pitch
Picture this scenario. You have just reached the top of a summit. The sun is setting and there’s no one about. You decide it’s a great location to pitch your tent and begin setting up camp. However, that night you get a group of star gazers coming up the peak and the following morning you’re disturbed by dozens of dog walkers and runners.
This might cause you to move your pitch or get your feathers ruffled trying to pack up camp quickly. A bit of forethought often solves this issue and stops you from wasting time. Before you pitch your tent, think about how secluded the area really is.
The wilder the location you head to, the easier it will be to go wild camping. However, in some AONBs a quiet field or hilltop can be swarming with people at a certain time of day. You may be better camping away from the summit behind a stone wall or heading into a nearby forest for a bit of cover, for example.
4 . Do Your Research
Doing research is one of the key hacks for wild camping that can save you time and money. Planning where you want to wild camp is a big part of ensuring you have a smooth journey. If you simply drive to a random nature area with the idea of pitching a tent, you may have a hard time.
If you head to the Surrey Hills on a weekend in the summer holidays, the area is going to be packed. You will find it very difficult to find a camping location and may have to head home early or risk a dodgy night in an exposed location.
Similarly, you may have an idea of heading to a big National Park where you know there is plenty of wilderness, but if you are in the wrong area searching for a quiet spot, it will be difficult. For example, camping on a high fell in the Lake District is very different to trying to camp on the lakeside or on the outskirts of a village.
A good way to prepare for this is to purchase an OS map. Alternatively, an online interactive map can also give you a clear idea of where you’re heading. Try to link together a hiking route with some camping locations. Research a few areas that you think may be suitable for a pitch and have them up your sleeve for when you arrive on location.
5 . Arrive Late, Leave Early
This is one of the timeless hacks for wild camping. Ask any experienced wild camper and this is a tip they will always give. It is a simple and elegant way of solving so many problems. It’s much harder to be spotted if you are only camping during the hours of darkness and you’re less likely to bother anyone.
That means no hassle for you and minimal disturbance for other pedestrians and land-users. This can also be a good way to save you money by avoiding fines. Although it’s rare, it’s not unheard of for people to be fined when wild camping in England and Wales.
Of course, you can’t be fined if you’re not caught. Pitching your tent late and packing up camp early makes it much harder for you to be detected. You’re minimising disruption and keeping to yourself. That’s how wild camping should be – it benefits everyone!
6 . Look for Flat Ground
Finding a comfortable place to sleep is another of the hacks for wild camping. It’s no good selecting an isolated, discrete location that can’t be seen by anyone if you don’t sleep a wink. Comfort is still a part of wild camping, and you want to have a relatively good night’s rest.
There’s nothing worse than taking your time to pitch your tent only to lie down and find the floor sloping away from you. Or getting ready to sleep at night and discovering a huge lump or branch jutting into your back. You’ll then have to waste time and energy moving your tent and adjusting your pitch which is something you could have accomplished the first time around!
Before you lay your canvas on the ground, do a quick survey to check if the ground is flat. This isn’t as obvious as you might think as the surface level can be deceptive if it’s obscured by long grass or other vegetation.
It’s worth lying down before you’ve set anything up just to test whether it’s remotely comfy. Then you can pitch your tent with relative confidence. A good quality camping mat is a wise investment that can smooth out most juts and grooves. However, it can’t fix really rough ground so avoid the bumpiest areas.
7 . Buy Multipurpose Equipment
As you grow your wild camping kit list over time, it’s worth investing in items that can have multiple uses. This saves space, reduces clutter, and keeps the price of your gear down. For example, rather than buying a full set of cutlery, just get a spork. This can be used as a cooking utensil and as a spoon, fork, and knife for eating your meals.
Do you really need an inflatable pillow? Wouldn’t it be better to save your money and roll up a fleece under your head instead? How about your clothing, do you need lots of fashion items? It is a better use of your money to buy functional clothing that can be layered on top of each other to keep you warm and dry on the trail.
This thinking can also be applied to your cooking gear. Do you really need a pot, saucepan, plate, and bowl? If you have a Jetboil, this is all these utensils rolled into one and you can simply eat your food straight from the stove pot. Another good money-saving tip is to avoid buying waterproof backpack linings and stuff sacks. Instead, just separate your items into bin bags and save the pennies!
8 . Keep Warm on Cold Nights
One of the biggest issues a wild camper will face is the cold. Sleeping close to the ground at night, it can get chilly even in the summer. Buying expensive down sleeping bags, merino wool layers, and sleeping bag liners can end up costing you a fortune. Instead, there are some nifty ways to keep warm and save money.
Before you go to sleep, heat up a pan of water. Pour this hot water into a bottle and then place it at the bottom of your sleeping bag. This will keep your toes and the inside of your sleeping bag cosy for hours. Make sure you’ve tested your bottle is heat resistant before trying this to avoid any accidents!
You can also purchase some hand or foot warmers from any hiking or outdoor apparel stoor. Put a few of these in your socks or at the end of your sleeping bag before you turn in for the night. They stay warm for many hours and will act like a mini radiator regulating heat.
There are endless hacks for wild camping and it’s fun to be creative and make up some of your own. For example, have you ever wanted a survival tin? Rather than buying one, tailor-make one! Add items that suit your needs and you’ll be ready for whatever the wilderness throws at you.
Thinking outside the box and being proactive often result in the best hacks for wild camping. The more trips you embark on, the more ideas you’ll invent. Get stuck in, enjoy the ups and the downs, and before long, you will be sharing your very own hacks for wild camping.